Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Express Scripts, the integrated pharmacy benefit manager acquired in March 2018 by Cigna for $67 billion, has announced the layoff of up to 500 employees when it closed their Columbus, Ohio pharmacy facility.
The layoff will include pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and clerical staff. Express Scripts claims that the layoffs are not related to the Cigna acquisition but is part of a normal and customary business affairs realignment.
Or in corporate speak ...
“As part of our regular business practices, we continually assess our operational needs to ensure we're as efficient as possible while meeting the needs of the clients and members we serve. As we continue to increase automation combined with the market adoption of electronic and digital tools, a thorough evaluation of our pharmacies shows that our future staffing needs are less than our current levels. As a result, we are closing our Columbus pharmacy. The pharmacy will close in a phased approach and be fully decommissioned this summer.”
Express Scripts is the largest pharmacy benefits manager in the nation and is part of the conduit between drug manufacturers, insurers, prescribers, and patients.
One of the industry’s greatest fears is being disintermediated by an algorithmic auction where the patient can electronically access and authorize their own prescriptions and using a Google-like auction and have that prescription competitively sold to the lowest bidder. Or even worse, allow the drug companies to transact the sale directly and fulfill through a regional or local facility.